Symmetrix Vmax is EMC’s reputable product.Compared to the previous models, VMAX has been optimized for increased availability,performance and capacity utilization on all tiers with all RAID types.VMAX’s enhanced device configuration and replication operations results in easier,faster and more efficient management of large virtual and physical environment.
A EMC VMAX storage array support from 1 to maximum of 8 VMAX engines.

Each of these engines contains two symmetrix VMAX directors.Each director includes

– multi-core CPUs (Cores per CPU/ per engine / per system)
– Cache memory(global memory)
– Front end I/O modules
– Back end I/O modules
– System Interface Module(SIB)

Apart from this,each engine has redundant power supplies,cooling fans,standby power supplies(SPS) and environmental modules.

All these engines are interconnected usingVmax Matrix Interface Board Enclosure(MIBE).Each director has two connection to MIBE via system interface module(SIB) ports as shown below.

Multi-core CPUs:

Multi-Core CPUs deliver new levels of performance and functionality in a smaller footprint with reduced power and cooling requirements..

Cache memory(global memory):

The Symmetrix VMAX array can be configured with up to 1TB of global memory (512GB protected). Memory is located on each director utilizing up to 8 DIMMS per director. Memory size considerations include the number of applications and replication requirements, as well as drive capacity, speed and protection. Engines can be configured with 32, 64, or 128 GB of physical memory. Global memory has maximum system bandwith of 192 GB/s.

Memory is accessible by any director within the system:

◆ If a system has a single VMAX Engine, physical memory mirrors are internal to the enclosure.
◆ If a system has multiple VMAX Engines, physical memory mirrors are provided between enclosures.

Front End I/O Module :

Front end modules are used for host connectivity.Host connectivity via Fibre Channel, iSCSI and FICON are supported.

Back End I/O Module :
Back end module provide access to the disk drives.Disks drives are configured under these I/O modules.

System Interface Module(SIB):
SIBs are responsible for interconnecting the Vmax engine’s directors through  Matrix Interface Board Enclosure(MIBE).Each Vmax engine has two SIBs and each has two ports.

Similar to DMX3 and DMX4 arrays,Vmax has two types of bays

 1. System bay :
System bay contains all Vmax engines.Apart from Vmax engines,it contains system bay standby power supplies(SPS), Uninterrupted Power Supply(UPS),Matrix Interface Board Enclosure (MIBE), and a Server (Service Processor) with Keyboard- Video-Mouse (KVM) assembly.

 2. Storage bay :
Each storage bay can hold up to 16 drive enclosures (DEs) for a maximum of 240 3.5 inch drives per storage bay. The maximum system configuration of 2400 drives utilizing 10 storage bays. DEs are storage modules that contain drives, link control cards, and power & cooling components. All DE components are fully redudant and hot swappable. Each houses up to 15 drives. Each DE provides physical redundant connections to two seperate directors and redundant connections to “daisy-chained” DEs that extend the number of drives that are accessible per director port. The DE supports dual-ported, 4 Gb/s, back-end fiber interfaces.

Similar to system bay, each storage bay has redundant PDPs, two SPS, SPS can maintain power for two five-minute periods of AC loss, enabling the Symmetrix storage bay to shut down properly. All storage bays are fully pre-cabled and pre-tested from the factory to easily enable future growth.

VMAX Engine Front View :
Below is a VMAX engine front view.As described above,VMAX engines are located in VMAX system bay.We can see the power supplies located at two sides and cooling fan module located in middle.

Vmax Engine Rear View :
This example displays the rear view of the V-Max Engine.


As explained earlier each VMAX  Engine contains two  director boards named here as Odd and Even director, four Front End I/O Modules, four Back End I/O Modules and two System Interface Boards (SIB). The Back End I/O Modules are numbered as Module 0 and Module 1. The System Interface Boards are named as Modules 2 and 3. The Front End I/O Modules are numbered as Module 4 and Module 5.

The top director board combined with the left Front End I/O Modules 4 and 5 represents the even numbered director.The bottom director board combined with the right Front End I/O Modules 4 and 5 represents the odd numbered director. For example, if this is engine  4 the top director would be director number 8 and the bottom director would be director number 7.
VMAX Engine Port Assignment :
This is a typical Vmax port assignment diagram

Above diagram contains port assignment of System Interface Board, the Back End I/O Modules, and the Front End I/O Modules.

As I explained earlier VMAX engines are interconnected using MIBE using System Interface Board ports Port A and Port B.Using these ports all directors communicate through the Virtual Matrix via redundant connections.

Each director within a VMAX  Engine contains two  Back End I/O Modules. Each Back End I/O Module has a single port, which holds a single Quad Small Form-Factor Pluggable (QSFP) connector. The QSFP connector cable contains 4 smaller cables ,each have a connection to four  Drive Enclosures, providing Back End Fibre Channel connectivity to the disk drives. On Back End I/O Module 0 these connections are designated as A0, A1, B0, and B1. On Back End I/O Module 1, these connections are designated as C0, C1, D0, and D1.

Each director also contains two Front End I/O Modules. The port designations on the Front End I/O Module will vary based on the interface type. This example represents four Fibre Channel Front End I/O Modules. In this ,configuration module 4 will contain ports E0, E1, F0, and F1. Module 5 will contain ports G0, G1, H0, and H1.

As we discussed previously, the left two Front End I/O Modules are connected to the even numbered director. If it is  Engine 4(director number associated with engine 4 is director 7 and 8), then the first port on the left most module 4 would be director 8 port E0. This is a significant departure from other Symmetrix systems and is a result of the overall increased port count in the Symmetrix V-Max array.
VMAX Engine Configuration with Storage Bays:
Now lets have a look at how the VMAX engine configures along with storage bay.I am giving pictorial representation, from one VMAX engine to 8 VMAX engine configuration along with storage bays.This is the standard EMC recommended configuration layout.

1. One Vmax engine with storage bay: 


The Symmetrix V-Max array requires at least one VMAX  Engine in the System Bay. As shown, the first engine in the System Bay will always be Engine 4 as counted starting at 1 from the bottom of the System Bay. In this example,Engine 4 has two half populated Storage Bays. One bay is directly attached and the second is a daisy chain attached Storage Bay. This allows for a total of 240 drives. To populate the upper half of these Storage Bays with drives you will need to add another VMAX  Engine.

2.Two VMAX engine with storage bay: 

In this example, the system has been expanded to include Engine 5. This allows the top half of both Storage Bays to be populated with drives. This represents the correct order for adding V-Max Engines to the System Bay. VMAX  Engines are added from the middle, starting with 4, then 5, then 3.

3.Three VMAX  engine with storage bay: 


Again, working from the middle out the system has been expanded. The next VMAX  Engine is 3, allowing the attachment of two additional Storage Bays. This allows for a total of 720 drives.
4.Four VMAX engine with storage bay: 



.Five VMAX engine with storage bay: 


6.Six VMAX engine with storage bay: 

.Seven VMAX engine with storage bay: 


8.Eight VMAX engine with storage bay: (Fully populated)


Now that we have the general idea, let’s take a look at how a system gets fully populated. Still working from the inside,out alternating above and below Engine 4, each engine is added until the System Bay is fully populated with 8 VMAX  Engines. As more engines are added the corresponding Storage Bays are added. In this example, the color coding indicates the relationship between the engines and their associated Storage Bays. Fully populated, this configuration allows for a total of 2,400. You will notice that Engines 1, 2, 7, and 8 each manage two daisy chain attached Storage Bays. This represents a supported system implementation, not a design limitation.